As political and social conditions in the country of Haiti continue to deteriorate, the United States government on Monday said that the temporary legal status of Haitians already in the country will be expanded and extended to the better part of 2024.

The new ruling was announced by the Homeland Security Department, saying that Haitians in the U.S. by Nov. 5 will be granted such status, and that those who were granted it last year will also benefit from the expansion of the program, according to the Associated Press.

A temporary legal status, which has been extended by the Biden administration to refugees from countries like Haiti, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Venezuela, allows these refugees to live in the U.S. to protect them from incidents happening in their homeland, and gives them authorization to work inside the country, ABC News reported.

The Biden administration has previously been willing to deport Haitians in the border back to their country, including breaking up a camp in the Texan town of Del Rio with 16,000 migrants, but has recently become weary of doing so due to backlash from human rights groups as well as the continuing deteriorating conditions in the country.

Since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Haiti has found itself in increasing disarray as gang violence continues to increase. More than that, a cholera outbreak is spreading throughout the nation and claiming the lives of children. This has caused a mass exodus of Haitians to regions like South America, Mexico, and the U.S.

“The conditions in Haiti, including socioeconomic challenges, political instability, and gang violence and crime — aggravated by environmental disaster — compelled the humanitarian relief we are providing today,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

“Providing temporary protection to Haitian nationals in the United States is critically important as Haiti continues to face extreme physical conditions and deteriorating political instability,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

The move has been praised by many human rights activist groups for standing by the Haitian community, which could reportedly help over 100,000 Haitians eligible for the program. The Cato Institute estimates that over one million people in general are eligible for the program under Biden.

Haiti-US Refugee Crisis Rep. Pic
This is a representational image. Julie Ricard/Unsplash.

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